The truth is, you can’t. This is an aspirational commitment – a public declaration that you are ready to step into leadership on climate. There is no guarantee. All we know is that if we don’t step up and try, it won’t happen. We are all holding hands and taking a leap of faith together.
An aspirational goal can be incredibly powerful – we went to the moon in less than 10 years. Once we commit to a goal, we create the social and market forces to achieve it together.
No, but it does mean that we all need an airline that will provide zero net carbon air travel. The technology exists to do it, by making jet fuel (basically kerosene) from sustainably grown biomass, or even using renewable electricity to make Jet A from CO2 pulled out of the air. The airline that commits to do it first will earn our loyalty, even before they achieve the goal, as long as they are serious and show steady progress to do it. And each corporation that signs a pledge will also need zero fossil carbon air travel... The demand multiplies.
Renewable energy growth is the key that makes this possible now. Prices are steadily falling as volume grows, just like computer chips and cell phone adoption. Once volume drives enough price reduction, adoption of new technologies have all followed very steep growth curves. Solar output has been growing at 33% for 7 years and now produces more than 2% of global electricity. While some dismiss that as a tiny contribution, at that growth rate solar alone could provide all global electricity by 2032. That does not include wind, batteries, lighting and efficiency, which are also all growing exponentially. Energy transformation makes it so profitable to end fossil energy use that it is already happening in some sectors now.
Other sectors, such as agriculture and forestry will take more work to transform, but also promise to remove and store carbon in regenerative land use. Buildings and construction are a long-term challenge, but breakthroughs such as carbon negative concrete could actually offer a way to remove and store net carbon. Ultimately, our whole system must move beyond short-term stupidity and waste to a mature civilization.
The pledge is just the beginning. Social and market forces will drive change and then quantitative measurement must provide feedback to show how we are doing. Carbon Path will provide the interoperable carbon accounting infrastructure needed. It will also help you tell companies what products and services you want and need to get there.
Our job is to create a social movement that pushes the market to accelerate positive trends. A small number of highly committed individuals, grassroots organizations and committed companies can flip the whole system at the right moment. Conscious intention and spirit are incredibly powerful when coupled with effective tools.
Businesses that sign a climate pledge will be asked to begin to pay to be listed in the Carbon Path marketplace at the end of free beta in 2020. Fees will be proportional to size with an entry level at $10 per month, and then business and premium versions. Enterprise corporations will pay based on total number of users and supply chain accounting needs.
Many governments and now large corporations are making pledges to decarbonize. The UK has committed to 2050, 6 states and 100 cities in the US have pledged "100% clean energy" by 2045, and Finland has said it will be "carbon neutral" in 2035. This is great progress!
But, the science says that to stay below a 1.5C increase we need to end fossil emissions in the rich countries by 2030 – the 100% clean energy goal used in the Green New Deal.
Carbon Path is a network platform where all entities can publicly sign a pledge and participate in a community marketplace where NGOs, green businesses and individual people help move corporations, government and society to rapidly achieve stronger goals together.